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Published August 21st, 2019
Summer and wine at Saint Mary's College was a perfect pairing
Summer Wine Festival at SMC Photo Vera Kochan

Anyone who missed attending the 15th annual Summer Wine Festival at Saint Mary's College should mark their calendars for next year. The Aug. 10 event was hosted by the SMC Alumni Association with proceeds benefiting the Lasallian Legacy Scholarship Fund created in the late 1980s by the Alumni Association Board of Directors.
According to Senior Director of Alumni Engagements Courtney Lohmann, the event has raised over $195,000 for the endowment to date, providing scholarships for more than 30 students by supplementing one-fourth of their tuition during their four years of school.
The event was held in the entire Soda Center building and wine tastings were poured by 25-30 vendors, many of whom are SMC alumni.
More than half of the wineries participating were members of the `Gaels in Wine' alumni chapter, who are Saint Mary's alumni who work in the wine industry - in many cases, own and/or operate wineries, noted Lohmann.
Napa vintner Michael Pozzan Winery's Matthew Pozzan (an alumni) proudly stated that his parents (founders Michael and Mary Ann) were also SMC alums.
Another Napa winery, Smith Devereux, began in 2011 with partners Steve Smith, John Truchard and Ian Devereux White. White graduated from SMC with an MBA. After a career writing for Lonely Planet he wanted to try his hand at winemaking.
Other offerings for the guests included a wine pull, a wine lover's version of a grab bag, where for $20 a lucky person could walk away with an $80 bottle of wine. A Silent Auction included weekend getaways, wine tastings, gourmet olive oil and Gaels gift baskets and swag. Former SMC president Brother Mel Anderson, FSC, said, "I've been to almost every one of these. When it first started, it was in front of the theater. There was an Italian group that used to sing and entertain the crowds. It's an informal occasion for wine tasting."
Entertaining the crowd this year was the Ali and Mark Band, a local acoustic duo specializing in rock, blues and soul. They have performed throughout Lamorinda, Walnut Creek, the wine country and more. Patio seating was provided for diners to relax al fresco while enjoying a buffet of gourmet appetizers and desserts.
While the afternoon drew many SMC alumni, Assistant Vice President of Alumni and Community Engagement Mary Poppingo noted that "this event is not just for SMC people - it's a community event."

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